We wish all of you a Happy New Year 2017 from your friends at Sunset!

 Sunday was Christmas Day, and we continued our theme, “Jesus Our Shepherd King:  Finding Peace in an Age of Anxiety,” with a message, “Shepherd’s Joy.”

 The text was from Luke 2:10:  “But the angel said to the shepherds, ‘Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’”

 Christmas is all about Immanuel—God with us.  Sometimes, amidst all the hustle and bustle, tinsel and toys, and celebrations with family and friends, we may overlook the fact that Christmas is all about Jesus—Immanuel—who is God with us.

 God looked down on our dismal plight—awash in sin, corruption and rebellion, and God knew that we—on our own—would be unable to climb any ladder up to heaven.  So God said I myself will go down and lift them up.  I will send my only-begotten Son to earth, to become one of them, and show them the way to a better place.  So God came to be with us.  His name was Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins.

 The pastor made three points:  (1) No Fear; (2) Good News; (3) Great Joy.

(1) No Fear.  Jesus is our Shepherd King.  Since he is our great Shepherd, caring for and taking care of us, and since he is at the same time is our mighty King—the One who is King of kings and Lord of lords—then we may have peace in the midst of a troubled world.

 There is no need for anxiety if Jesus is my Shepherd King.

 In our text the shepherds watching their flock were terrified at the appearance of God’s angel.  But the angel said:  “Do not be afraid.”  When God’s angels come to announce a message of grace from almighty God, it is always a time of reassurance, and no fear, but of God’s comforting presence.

 (2) Good News.  When the angel came with God’s gracious message, it was this:  “I bring you good news.”  God loves to bring us good news because he knows we need it.

 The world is in rough shape these days, as it was in the First Century, and as it was in the days of Noah.  So God came down in the person of Jesus, and the good news is that he lifted us up from the deep miry clay and set our feet on his highway.

 Jesus came and lived a holy life, died for our sins on Calvary’s cross, and was raised up from the dead on Easter Sunday, so that in Him we may have new life, the forgiveness of our wrong ways, freedom from the condemnation of sin, an entrance into God’s abundant life here and now, and everlasting life in the hereafter.

 (3) Great Joy.  The angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

 We have reason for great joy because the God who has come to be with us in the person of Jesus will never leave nor forsake us who trust in him.

 He guides our steps, supplies our needs, protects our souls, and provides us with daily bread and eternal salvation.  What causes for joy we have!

 Finally, the angel said that this good news of great joy will be for all people.  The blessing God gives is not for a select few, not only for the high and mighty, but for all — the rich and poor, educated and uneducated, the powerful and the powerless.

 God made — and loves — all people.  When Jesus came, he talked with the temple priests and lawyers, but also to the prostitutes, tax collectors and untouchable lepers.

 He came for all.  We share this good news with you today.

 “A Savior has been born to you.  He is Christ the Lord.”  [Luke 2:11]

 May the Christ Child born on Christmas be your Savior and Lord today, and all through the new year—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.